I am near to Jesus...
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
James 4:8a Come near to God and He will come near to you.
KPRZ – Encouragement for Today – April 21, 2011
I Was Her
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" John 8:12 (NIV)
“I saw her coming across the arena. Deliberately. Intentionally. Her eyes fixed on the stage... on me... on what I must have represented in that moment — a woman who might understand.
“Through the crowd. Up the stairs. Across the stage. She stood next to me pressing her shoulder against mine as I was speaking to 6500 women.
“And there she was staring out at thousands, but pressing into one. Needing more than words.
“Later she explained she needed God and thought if she stood close enough to me, she just might be able to feel Him.
“I didn't have time to carefully plan what to do. I've never had this happen before. I've never seen this happen. It wasn't even on my scope of possibility. But there she was. And there I was. Two women who simply, desperately need Jesus.
“And because I am so hyper aware of my own desperation for Jesus every moment of every day, I simply wrapped my arm around her and kept on speaking.
“It was a wrinkle in time. Something that wasn't supposed to be and yet was. And I think I now know why.
“I needed to remember that ravenous longing I once had to press against somebody who knew Jesus. I was her. Looking at other people's faith wondering how to get that. That depth. That closeness. That unswerving conviction.
“I truly thought if only a person with that faith would let me close enough, I'd discover their secret. I'd learn their routines. I'd mimic their obedience. I'd follow them to the ends of the earth until I got it right. Then, then, then, I'd feel close to Jesus. I'd understand the Bible. I'd pray powerful prayers. And all would finally make sense.
“However, there is a big difference between being close to people who love Jesus and being close to Jesus Himself.
“I can certainly learn from people. ‘He who walks with the wise, grows wise.’ (Proverbs 13:20a, NIV)
“But if I want closeness with Jesus, I won't find that in following anyone but Jesus Himself. He is the One who must be pursued. There have been a thousand whispers from my heart, ‘Show me, Jesus. Show me how to follow You, be close to You, press into You, be more like You...show me. Show me today. Show me in this minute. Show me, please Jesus, show me.’
“A thousand whispers. And there will surely be thousands more that pour from my lips. For Jesus wants us to walk with Him. He says, ‘Follow me.’ Over 20 times in the Gospels, ‘Follow me. Follow me.’
“And those who dare to whisper yes and then walk in His ways, find the One for whom they are longing. ‘Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ (Jeremiah 29:12-13, NIV)
“Yes, there she was. And there I was. Two women who simply, desperately need Jesus.
“Dear Lord, I desperately need You. I want to know You for myself. Show me. Help me to follow You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.”
I understand what that woman was feeling – there was a time in my life when Jesus felt as far away as the moon – and I was desperate for His touch – for His love – for His forgiveness – for His mercy – for His help – for HIM. Leaning into Him was my only option – there wasn’t anyone I trusted with my hurt and shame. Sure – I went to church and Bible study – and I shared the surface details of my life and struggles – but when it came to the muck and mire I was stuck in I wouldn’t have shared that any more than I would have walked over hot coals. So there was nothing else to do but lean into Jesus – to search His word for meaning - to pray – and pray some more – to read – and read some more. Over time – YEARS – leaning into Jesus became easier – more “natural” – but let me assure you that I still have moments where I am most definitely NOT leaning into Him. The enemy has climbed up my leg and pushed me as far as he can to get my eyes off the Lover of my soul – and before I know it I’ve slipped back into old habits – old ways of thinking – out of the Spirit and into the flesh – and then I’m miserable. How I HATE giving into a bad attitude – mouthing off to someone or stomping around when things are hard and I’m in pain. My Savior waits – patiently – and taps me on the shoulder – reminds me that He’s closer than the enemy can EVER be – and I “come to my senses” once again. And I lean into Jesus – again.
If you’re that woman, lean into Jesus. It might feel awkward at first – and “unnatural” – but He LONGS for you to rest in Him – to nestle in to that sweet spot where He can whisper into your ear how very much you are loved. Give yourself over to Him – let Him love you – let Him be all you need. Sharon